After the last hiking day on Sunday, we had a rest day Monday to explore Chamonix at our own pace. It was a great day to sleep a bit later, sip on that extra cup of coffee and explore the shops and sights of Chamonix. It was a great opportunity to pick up a few essentials, trinkets and souvenirs. Since it was July 1st – CANADA DAY, I distributed Canada pins to our group members at Happy Hour on the patio. Good Fun!
On Tuesday, we cross the border via a long tunnel (took 12 minutes) under the mountains to Italy. We arrive in the town of Courmayeur, our home for the next three days. As a fan of professional cycling, I was thrilled to come here as it was recently featured in May 2019 on Stage 14 of the Italian cycling race, the Giro d’Italia (press-cursor to Tour de France). The pink bicycle, their brand, is still very visible around town as it is an economic boom for a town to be a stop on a Grand Tour.
No messing around for us, we drop off our luggage at the front desk of our hotel (below) and Juliette, our leader and guide, leads us off for our hike for the day. We walk to the bus station to take the bus to Val Veny (more about that later).
Our hike this day is a gradual climb so you have time to build up your pace and adjust accordingly. It is not steep – just a steady gain in elevation. We are surrounded by mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and glacial rivers.
One section of the trail reminds me a bit about the Kilimanjaro trail, with few trees and a narrow, rocky trail.
The building on the top is Rifugio Elisabetta, our destination for the day.
At this point, Juliette offers us the choice to stay at this point and enjoy a nice lunch OR you could continue climbing a steep section above the rifugio. Six of us stay and eat lunch; five + Juliette ascend higher. I enjoy delicious homemade gnocchi in pomodoro sauce – SO GOOD!! It was a great spot to use the washroom, take off your boots and relax for a bit while we wait for the rest of the team to come back.
We get a great view of the mountains and glacier from the rifugio.
On the descend, we cross a few snow paths, with Norway, Canada and Britain (of course !) tour members winning the race across the first snow patch. Juliette kindly assisted a few who are not so used to snow! So much fun and so many laughs!
Overall, it was another great day as we descend further and head back to the bus.
Just a few shots of our great town. One guy in our group calls it sexy and chic haha! It is not a tourist destination in the summer and there are very few tourist traps, just really classy local shops and businesses. I love it here.
Well it is late and we have a 7AM start tomorrow – have to go. Thanks for coming along on my journey.